Ten Months: motion, direction, acceleration

I’ve got speed
That’s how fast I am moving
I’ve got velocity
That’s my speed and direction…
Motion, direction, acceleration…
They Might Be Giants, “Speed and Velocity,” Here Comes Science

She’s ten months old today! Two babies in our local friend group have their first birthdays today and tomorrow; I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year. She’s crawling, “cruising,” and has taken a first step. She eats real people food (she is going to loooooove birthday cake…she might’ve inherited her mama’s sweet tooth) and makes all kinds of sounds. She stands and claps her hands, and every now and then, if the mood strikes, she’ll blow raspberries on us.

Here are some photos from the last few months.

Mama and baby reading board book on couch

A rare snuggly moment in Maine. She’s always on the go, but will pause for a favorite book.

 

Baby in hat reading a book on a blanket

At book club in June. (The rest of us read Jo Walton’s excellent My Real Children.)

Dad holding baby up, sun shining down through tree above

A little air-drying after splashing around in the kiddie pool on a hot summer day.

Baby in plaid hat in bucket swing

Enjoying the swings at Menotomy Rocks Park. Photo by Abby T.

Baby eating watermelon on the floor

Visiting a friend for indoor picnic lunch at her office.

Baby browsing picture books on library shelves

Browsing the picture books at the Belmont Public Library.

In the water at Walden Pond

Visiting Walden Pond with friends. Photo by Mae K.

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What we’ve read so far, nine and a half months

What we’ve read so far, nine months

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If she paid attention even a quarter of the time, Sudo would be able to get a degree in children’s literature.

 

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The top half of the stack. Go Dog Go! for irony.

I Am the Wolf…and Here I Come! and Jabberwocky and Shh! We Have a Plan are books the baby now recognizes and gets excited about. She likes I Kissed the Baby! too, especially the “I tickled the baby” page. And she enjoys my attempts at sound effects for Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? as well as The Loud Book (see below). From the Baby Signs book, we’ve learned that the ASL for “dog” makes her giggle every time (it’s sticking out your tongue and panting).

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The bottom half of the stack

The Quiet Book and The Loud Book were recommended by our friend Caitlin S., and they are brilliant – all about different kinds of quiet (e.g. “Thinking of a good reason you were drawing on the wall quiet” and “Last one to get picked up from school quiet”) and loud (“Burp during quiet time loud,” “Spilling your marbles in the library loud.” Naturally I like The Quiet Book and Lyra loves The Loud Book.

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures reminds me a bit of Neil Gaiman, absent Gaiman’s usual darkness; it was a gift from a friend, chosen with the help of the staff at the Brookline Booksmith (thank you!).

I have yet to memorize One Woolly Wombat completely, but the day is coming. Monkey and Me, on the other hand, is easy to memorize, has a lovely singsong rhythm, and serves well as a distraction in the car. As always, Emily Gravett’s illustrations are perfect.

There is a new Goose book! Goose Goes to the Zoo. It’s just about as charming as Goose and Goose Goes to School.

A few of these are really too long for a baby’s attention span; the board books are just right, plus she’s able to turn the pages (and chew on them without completely ruining them). But it’s nice for us to read some of the longer ones, both so that she hears the language even if she’s busy doing something else (like trying to climb the bookshelf) and to preview for ourselves, so we have an idea of which ones we will enjoy reading on repeat and which ones will have mysteriously short lending periods from the library.

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Undecided

There’s no way of knowing what she’s thinking, of course. But it’s fun to imagine.

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“I’m not sure if I want this.”

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“I have two of them!”

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“Here’s another one.”

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“Hmm, I need to think on this for a minute.”

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[Still pondering]

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“I have changed my mind.”

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“This is terrible! Do you want it? You take it.”

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“On second thought…”

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All dressed up

Baby’s first wedding! We didn’t even have to get on a plane (the best kind of wedding). It was about 95 degrees and humid and the ceremony started at 5pm, all of which could have been a recipe for disaster, but in fact she was quite perfect, except for the brief instant when the bottle of ice water she was gnawing on slipped out of her grasp, which occurred during the moment of silence. Naturally.

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Her smile! And why don’t they make freezer chew toys for adults?

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One with Grandma.

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This right here is precisely why I no longer wear necklaces.

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We took her home before the music and dancing started. Man, she would have loved that…

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Celebrating nine months

What better way to celebrate than climbing a rock? This morning we visited the Beaver Brook Reservation Spray Deck & Playground, where the babies happily explored in the shallow water while shrieking older children considerately avoided trampling them. (One boy, pushing his water gun around under the water to fill it, even made it into a game when he realized she was crawling around after it. Thanks, kid!)

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Contemplating the climb

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Attempting the climb

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Choosing a smaller rock. Success!

I don’t do a lot of predicting, but here’s one: she’s going to be walking by ten months – a few wobbly steps, at least. Meanwhile we’ve got plenty to be getting on with: she’s got six teeth (two on bottom, four on top), a good appetite for real food, she enjoys rhymes and songs, loves bouncing and being tossed up in the air, recognizes patterns and phrases in books (hello, birdie!), and smiles at everyone she sees, including the dog (who doesn’t smile back).

Happy nine-month-versary, Turtle!

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What we’ve read so far, nine months

Technically, the nine-month mark isn’t till a week from now, but now is when I have time, so here it is a week early!

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  • I Am the Wolf…and Here I Come! – My friend picked this up at the library, but then was going to leave it behind. I’m of the leave-no-book-behind mentality, though, so I nabbed it, and Lyra loves it. Great opportunity to do a wolf voice, and if your kid likes to be startled, you can have a lot of fun with the last page.
  • The Eensy-Weensy Spider – Who knew there were so many verses to this?? And that it was “eensy-weensy” instead of “itsy-bitsy”?
  • I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy is my new go-to for newborns and new parents; it’s got the black and white illustrations like Tana Hoban’s books, but also has some simple text and a strip of color down each page edge.
  • The Pigeon Loves Things That Go – The Mo Willems empire expands with “a smidgen of pigeon.”
  • That’s Not My Pony… – This whole series irks me a little, but we’re at the touch-and-feel stage, so here’s another one.
  • Sign Language ABC – This is the second or third time we’ve checked this one out, and I still like it, but I just realized the picture of the octopus has only five legs. What happened to the other three…
  • The Monster at the End of This Book – Grover begs the reader not to turn the pages of this book, and tries everything he can think of to hinder page-turning, to no avail. “Did you know that you are very strong?”
  • Little Pea – Recommended by Drew Magary, author of Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First Century Parenthood, in this article. (Do not click through if you have delicate sensibilities.) A big hit all around. We’ll be requesting more from this list.
  • How to Cheer Up Dad – I saw the title on the spine at the library and pulled it off the shelf. Hurray for serendipity! The whole family loves this one. “I wonder how much cheering up Dad will need tomorrow…”

And now…

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Looking for her next great book

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Keeping cool on the Fourth of July

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Grandparents are the best entertainment

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Look at that mug.

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Reading routines

Before I had my baby, I had a vision in my head of sweet bedtime routine featuring lap-sitting and a stack of books. That may still materialize, but it hasn’t yet; at nine(!) months, our bedtime routine involves a bath, then straight into a clean diaper, onesie, and sleep sack, then nursing till she passes out and I lay her in her crib with her pacifier and lovey. Her attention span, such as it is, does not stretch to one book, let alone several, at the end of the day.

But, you know, I’m a librarian. Just because reading doesn’t fit into our bedtime routine right now doesn’t mean we give up on books! Instead, we read throughout the day. I keep a board book and an “indestructible” in the diaper bag for when we’re on the go; there are two shelves of books in her bedroom; and there are books piled on (and under) the coffee table. There is even a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the kitchen table.

This way, we read whenever the opportunity arises, whether she’s content to sit on my lap for a few minutes or wants to turn pages herself (a new skill that made mama very happy). Sometimes I read to her when she’s doing other things – one eye on book, one eye on baby – because she’s hearing the words and the rhythm of the story even if she isn’t watching me turn pages, and that counts for something too.

I’ve also memorized a lot of short books and poems, as well as songs and rhymes, to recite to her on walks or in the car. I highly recommend The Random House Book of Poetry for Children; it’s got long poems and short ones, serious and funny, rhyming and not, old and new. Storytimes, singalongs, or other events for infants and toddlers at your local public library are also a great way to learn (or be reminded of) songs, rhymes, and accompanying fingerplay (e.g. “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”).

Early literacy is about more than just books: talking, singing, and playing are important too, as is writing (though that’s a little bit later…give a baby a crayon and they will most likely just try to eat it). Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy has some great information about early literacy practices. It also helps to practice what you preach: if you want your kid to be a reader, let her see you reading for pleasure yourself.

How do you incorporate books and reading into your daily or weekly routine? How have your expectations around reading to and with babies changed? What didn’t work, and what adjustments have you made? What works well for you now? Please share in the comments!

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